Supreme Court rules designer unwilling to create wedding website for same-sex couples

WASHINGTON (AP) – A conservative majority of the Supreme Court ruled Friday that Christian graphic artists who want to design wedding websites can refuse to work with same-sex couples in the defeat of gay rights. was dropped. One of the court’s liberal justices wrote in a dissenting opinion that the effect of the ruling was to “replace homosexuals and lesbians in second-class status” and open the door to other forms of discrimination.

Despite Colorado laws against discrimination based on sexual orientation, race, gender or other characteristics, the court ruled designer Laurie Smith 6-3. Smith claimed the law violated her right to free speech.

Opponents of Mr Smith said a Mr Smith win would allow businesses to discriminate against black, Jewish and Muslim customers, interracial and interfaith couples and immigrants by denying them services. warned. But Smith and her supporters say a judgment against her would force artists, from painters and photographers to writers and musicians, to work contrary to their beliefs. rice field.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, addressing six conservative justices in the court, wrote that the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is “a rich and complex process in which all men are free to think and say what they want, not what their government wants them to do.” I am envisioning the United States as the location.” Mr Gorsuch said the courts had long held that “the opportunity to think for yourself and express your thoughts freely is one of the freedoms we hold most dear and one of the factors that keeps our republic strong.” It is a department,” he said.

In her dissenting opinion, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said, “Today, for the first time in history, a court recognized the constitutional right of a company open to the public to refuse service to members of the protected class.” wrote. She was joined by two other liberals on the court, Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown-Jackson.

Sotomayor said the logic of the decision “cannot be limited to discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.” Website designers can refuse to create wedding websites for interracial couples, stationery stores can refuse to sell birth announcements for couples with disabilities, and mass Retailers can limit portrait services to “traditional” families, she wrote.

The ruling is a triumph for religious rights and is one of a series of recent lawsuits in which judges have taken sides with religious plaintiffs. Last year, for example, a court ruled ideologically against a football coach who prayed on the public high school field after a game.

The ruling is also a setback for gay rights for the courts. For nearly 30 years, courts have expanded the rights of LGBTQ people, most notably in 2015, giving same-sex couples the right to marry, five years later in a groundbreaking ruling written by Gorsuch. It announced that its civil rights law would also protect homosexuals and lesbians. transgender people due to employment discrimination.

But even as it expands gay rights, courts have cautioned that people with different religious views need to be respected. The belief that marriage can only be between one man and one woman “has been, and continues to be, sincerely believed for many years by rational and honest people at home and abroad.” Justice Anthony Kennedy said in an article. court decisions on same-sex marriage.

The court reverted to that idea five years ago when it faced a lawsuit from a Christian baker who objected to designing a cake for a same-sex wedding. The court issued a limited judgment in favor of baker Jack Phillips, saying there was unacceptable hostility to his religious views in considering his case. Phillips’ attorney, Kristen Wagoner of the Alliance to Defend Freedom, also filed the latest lawsuit in court. He said Friday that the Supreme Court was right to reaffirm that governments cannot force people to say things they don’t believe.

“Differences of opinion are not discrimination. Governments cannot mislabel and censor speech as discrimination,” she said in a statement.

Smith, who runs his design firm 303 Creative in Colorado, does not currently have a wedding website. She says she would like to, but she says her Christian faith does not allow her to create a website celebrating same-sex marriage. And there she is in conflict with state law.

Colorado, like most other states, has laws that prohibit public companies from discriminating against their customers. Colorado said under its so-called public accommodations law, Smith’s wedding website must be offered to all customers regardless of sexual orientation if it is offered to the public. Companies that violate the law can be fined. Smith argued that applying the law to her violated her First Amendment rights. The country did not agree to this.

The case is 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, 21-476.


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